What's not to love about penguins? Surely one of the most endearing species on the planet, these flightless birds are always fascinating - and more interesting than you might think. Here are some amazing facts about penguins that just might see you running to the nearest zoo!

  1. Most penguins live in the southern hemisphere but there is one species which lives north of the equator - the Galapagos penguin.
  1. Penguins are able to drink seawater - a gland above their eye removes salt from their bloodstream.
  1. Emperor penguins can grow to 4 feet tall!
  1. Emperor penguins can remain underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  1. The Gentoo penguin is the Usain Boldt of the penguin world and can swim at over 20mph.
  1. The deepest penguin dive ever recorded was an impressive 1, 850 feet.
  1. The penguins unique colouring provides camouflage whilst they are swimming.
  1. Fossils have revealed that there were once penguins on earth which were almost 6 feet tall.
  1. Penguins don't have teeth but they do have fleshy spines in their beaks.
  1. Penguins moult all of their feathers every year. The process takes three weeks and the birds can't swim until it is complete.
  1. Gentoo, rockhopper, and chinstrap penguins are monogamous for life.
  1. Chubby males are attractive to female emperor penguins as their bulk enables them to survive longer when they are incubating eggs.
  1. A group of penguins on land is called a rookery whilst a group of penguins in the water is called a raft.
  1. Penguins have no predators on land which explains why they are generally friendly to humans.
  1. The smallest species of penguin is the little blue which is just 16 inches tall.
  1. Scientists are unsure exactly how many species of penguin there are.
  1. Penguins jump in the air before diving into water as this releases air from their feathers and so helps them to swim more quickly.
  1. Penguins locate their mates in rookeries via unique calls.
  1. Penguin rookeries can feature hundreds of thousands of birds.
  1. Penguins have dense skeletons to enable them to sink in the water.
  1. When penguins huddle together to keep warm, the birds in the middle can get too hot.
  1. Penguins can move quicker on land if they slide on their bellies rather than walk.
  1. Fossils have revealed that penguins existed at the time of the dinosaurs and so they survived the extinction of the giant creatures.
  1. If a female emperor penguin loses her chick she will often kidnap another bird's offspring.
  1. Penguins have no visible ears but benefit from excellent hearing.
  1. Penguins are able to keep warm because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to their skin.
  1. The French explorer Beaulieu believed penguins to be a type of feathered fish when he saw them in 1620.

Have we left anything out? If you are a penguin expert and know more, let us know!

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